Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Game #2 in Atlanta on August 16, 2011

Going into the game, unbeknowst to many people in the know, Jeff Keppinger, Nate Schierholtz, and Aaron Rowand all had to get x-rays for various "ow-wees" they received in Monday's game.

This limited manager Bruce Bochy's ability to use baseball strategy.  He would only have Mark DeRosa (who up until then was 0-26) and Eli Whiteside. (Word from the pressbox was that Aaron Rowand informed Bochy he'd be able to play later in the game.) This was taking place and I forget to mention that Sergio Romo and Carlos Beltran were put on the 15-day disabled list. Dan Runzler (left-handed pitcher) and Miguel Tejada would be the replacements. 

Entering the ballgame this is a lot of roster movement but you can't forget that yesterday Pablo Sandoval also fouled one off his foot and Andres Torres went on the 15-day DL about a week ago.  There was a game to be played.  Wouldn't you know it, in an attempt to field a bunt, Jonathan Sanchez did the splits. He was able to throw the bunter out at first but after throwing one pitch to the next batter he was unable to pitch any longer. A twisted ankle would put Sanchy on the disabled list. 

The inning Sanchez was injured was when the Braves scored a run to take a 1-0 lead.  The batter-runner who bunted safely due to Pablo over-committing a grounder between the first-baseman and pitcher and there was nobody to cover first base is named Costanzo. The Braves call him Georgie and the Giants are muttering "Can't Stand ya!"

Entering the 7th inning the Braves pitcher, a rookie named Delgado, was throwing a no-hitter. That is until Cody Ross led off with a booming home run.  Giants-1  Braves-1

But the Braves bullpen is healthy and they are every bit as good as the Giants' bullpen which is not healthy. In the 11th inning a hitter for the Braves by the name of Brooks Conrad doubled with one out. On third base with 2 outs, Conrad would score the winning run when Martin Prado singled. Game over, Braves-2 Giants-1.

Two gut wrenching losses and there's another game today, Matt Cain vs. Jair Jurgens. This is must see baseball. Because the Giants are putting forth the kind of effort that any baseball fan can truly appreciate. They may have never been able to put Humpty Dumpty together again but I'll bet he was one helluva tasty omelet.

Good things will become of this because, as we Giant fans witnessed last season, our San Francisco Giants are a team. They know how to pull it all together. After what I saw and heard (on my radio) last season I have no reason to think they cannot put the pieces together again.

Go Giants!

Kevin J. Marquez

August 15, 2011 in Atlanta, GA

"Sometimes I think it's a sin when I feel like I'm winning when I'm losing again."  Gordon Lightfoot

On August 15, 2011, the San Francisco Giants were in Atlanta, Georgia, to play the Braves. Game time was the time I started getting ready for school (6pm-9:50pm).  My dial was tuned in to KNBR680AM.

This is how the game went for me on Monday:

The Braves had Tim Hudson on the hill.  Cody Ross led off for the Giants and hit a roller to an infielder who made the throw to first-base in time for out number 1. Jeff Keppinger beat out an infield hit to the third baseman.  Pablo Sandoval came up and promptly fouled a pitch straight down off of his foot. He managed to tough it out and was able to hit a grounder the fielder caught but made a poor throw to get the force at second base. One out, two men on.  Huff got out. I don't recall how but he was out number 2.  Nate Schierholtz walked to load the bases. Up came Brandon Belt, fresh off his two-homer game in Florida. He promptly popped out to shallow center field. Giants-0  Braves-coming to bat.

Braves would be facing Madison Bumgarner.
Brian McCann, the third place hitter hit one out of the yard. At the end of one inning, Braves-1  Giants-0.

It was time to shower. When I got back it was Jon Miller saying, "At the end of two innings it's the Braves-2  Giants-0."

While I'm getting dressed all I remember hearing was Jon Miller and Dave Fleming bantering about Joe West's strike zone, or lack thereof.  (Joe West is the same skeebozo who umpired behind the plate at AT&T on July 22 with the Brewers in town. On that night West struggled with the strike zone much the same way a one-legged person would be at a disadvantage in an ass-kicking contest.)

The game became secondary when I began to get dressed for school.  I know I have approximately 30-45 to get to school at 875 Howard Street in San Francisco. I supposed the fifteen minute difference in guesstimation has to do with what is being wired into my ears through the walkman radio I hold in my hands.

As I'm walking down Valencia toward 16th, 15th, 14th streets the loose connection in the wire of my headphones didn't allow me to keep a pitch-by-pitch account of the game. All I knew is when I stopped to fuss with the wire and had to hold the radio a particular way so the wire worked, it was still Braves-2  Giants-0.

Meanwhile, I'm crossing over to South Van Ness under the overpass to where Howard runs into Van Ness and I am told by Dave Fleming that the Giants have a couple of baserunners.  Moments later Brandon Belt was hit by a pitch.  Bases loaded. I didn't know how many outs there were until after Orlando Cabrera flew out to deep left field and Fleming said it was good that Schierholtz moved from second to third on the play because the Giants could get another run by doing the same thing.  And sure enough, Eli Whiteside flied out deep enough to allow Nate to skate home for their second run. I'm not sure of the inning but when the Giants made out number three it was Braves-2,  Giants-2.

I arrive at school to talk to a couple of people to get my plans updated.  When I was done updating my information it wasn't quite 6pm, so I turned the game back on.  At the end of blah-blah inning it's Giants-3, Braves -2.  Didn't know the inning, but it had to be past the 6th, and the Giants were ahead.

Our first break in class is usually after the first hour. So I brought up and saw that the Giants had a 4-2 lead over the Braves and it was the 8th inning. My first thought was, 'We need 6 outs."

After the next break I see, FINAL SCORE  Braves-5  Giants-4.  Look up the line score and see that the Bearded One , as Jon Miller is wont to call him, got lit up in the 9th.  Brian "Help Me Rhonda" Wilson gave up 3 runs. That's going to happen.

I was thinking what Mike Fontenot would do now that Pablo was removed because of the foul off the foot.  But then I thought of how many times an opponent of the Giants would be removed from the game and his replacement came in and tore it up. So I thought Fontenot was capable of contributing.  Sure enough, it was Fontenot's homer that made it 4-2.

This team has a lot of heart.  They are under-manned due to the injuries but they put up the good fight.

Go Giants!

Kevin J. Marquez

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Saw an article in ESPN magazine, don't recall which issue, that is month. It is a 2011 edition. (Actually, I was hoping the page I tore it out had the date on the bottom, like some do. This page had nothing.) The article, by Hallie Grossman, listed 5 records it considered Unbreakable.

Bill Mosienko's Hat Trick

On March 23, 1952, Mosienko, a right wing for the Black Hawks, scored goals at 6:09, 6:20 and 6:30 of the 3rd period against the New York Rangers, sparking a 7-6 comeback victory.

Johnny Unitas TD streak
Johnny Unitas passed for a touchdown in 47 consecutive weeks.

Wilt Chamberlain Averaged 48.5 minutes a game
Considering an entire game is 48 minutes long, you can see the guy never took time off. Not to mention he never fouled out, ever.  The 1961-62 season was the year he averaged 48.5.  Now think a minute. Is this where the legend came from?  You know, the legend of how many women he slept with! Some scribe and Wilt must have had an on-going joke and they decided to throw it against the wall to see if it would stick.
Looks like it stuck.  That is, until ESPN talk show hosts decided to do some investigative journalism. Once that happened the possibility of "the Stilt," or "the Big Dipper," virility lacked mathematical supporting evidence.

Ernie Nevers
On November 28, 1929, the Chicago Cardinals fullback scored 6 touchdowns and 4 extra-point conversions.  Accounting for all 40 of his team's points in a win over the rival Chicago Bears.
Nevers did something equally as impressive in 1926. In 1926, Nevers was and still is the only athlete to play pro baseball, basketball and football in the same year.

Stan Musial
In Stanley Frank Musial's Hall of Fame career he finished with 3,630 base hits.  Exactly 1815 on the road and 1815 at home. Now that, my friends, is Unbreakable.

(thanks to the article by Hallie Grossman of ESPN mag)

Kevin J. Marquez

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Zoos are Naming Animals After Athletes

In the June 27, 2011, ESPN magazine was an article by Laura Downhour that told a wonderful tale about zoos in the United States.

Downhour opens up the article with a ditty about how San Francisco Zoo renamed a hippo Brian Wilson to celebrate the World Series win.  More importantly she discovered this wasn't the only zoo to do such a thing.

Here are some excerpts:

Brian Wilson/The Hippopotamus/San Francisco Zoo
"Hippos are extremely dangerous, responsible for more human deaths in Africa than any other animal. If someone comes into their territory, they're going to get them out of there." - Jim Nappi, curator of the hoofstock.

Tressel the Humboldt Penguin/Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
"Tressel is sometimes a bit jumpy and is often suspicious of strangers.  She's also a picky eater who always stays 'til the end of the feeding session to get all the smallest fish in the bucket." Carrie Pratt, assistant curator

Favre the Sinaloan Milk Snake/Houston Zoo
"We had a keeper from Wisconsin who was a big Green Bay fan.  When the milk snake arrived in 1999 he made quite a thing about naming it Favre.  Wisconsin being the dairy state, it kind made sense."  -Brian Hill, director of public affairs

Sidney the Sea Lion/North Carolina Zoo
"As a pup we had her at the Pittsburgh Zoo and she was a star.  Sometimes, she used her flipper to hit a ball, almost like a slap shot.  It was a behavior she picked up on her own." -Henry Kocprzyk, Pittsburgh zookeeper

Larry Bird the African Gray Parrot/ Houston Zoo
"Their favorite defense mechanism is biting and they fluff up their feathers to look larger. I doubt the real Larry Bird ever bit a ref, but I bet there were times he got really puffed up about a bad call." - Brian Hill, director of public affairs

Lincecum the Howler Monkey/ San Francisco Zoo
"She has the best personality of all the monkeys and enjoys being the center of attention.  Kind of like how pitchers are the center of attention in a game." - Corrine MacDonald, curator of primates and carnivores

(thank you Laura Downhour for that delightful article. Sometimes we need to step away from the long 162-game season.)

Kevin J. Marquez